Christmas Cookies

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Over the weekend was Christmas-cookie-making-weather, aka snowing! I made the dough on Sunday morning but then we went to Edaville Railroad so I waited until yesterday to finish them. I thought I’d pull together some tips and tricks I use for making delicious-tasting and cute-looking Christmas Cookies that can be used any time you’re making shaped and decorated sugar cookies.

For the dough, I love Martha’s recipe because if you follow her instructions to the T, you get really great, perfectly shaped cookies.

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I also use a tip from Alton Brown: for rolling out the dough, use powdered sugar on your board and rolling pin in place of flour – what a great idea.

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Roll the dough until about 1/8″ thick and cut out your shapes. You know how sometimes you bake your cookies and they get puffy and sort of melt out too much and the shape is distorted? To counter that, as Martha’s recipe states, when you’re ready to bake, stick the whole sheet of cookies back in the fridge for 10 minutes or longer until they’re very cold. Then cook at 325 for 15 minutes. This makes the shape of the cookie stay in tact while baking.

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I decided to frost some of my cookies and use sprinkles on others. A quick tip for pre-baking-sprinkling is to brush a little milk on your cookie so the sprinkles have something to stick to and won’t immediately roll off your cookie and get everywhere.

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The last tip I have to share is that Martha also recommends rotating location of your cookie sheets halfway through baking, this creates a perfectly browned cookie bottom and a cookie that is evenly baked.

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For decorating I mentioned the pre-baking sprinkles above, but for frosted cookies I like to make a small amount of buttercream frosting with sprinkles on top, rather than the traditional royal icing. This makes for a tastier cookie in my opinion as royal icing hardens and makes the whole cookie a little crunchy.

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Enjoy your holiday baking this season – it really is the most wonderful time of the year!!

Edaville Railroad

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We braved the cold temps yesterday and took our Z to the Edaville Railroad! We went with my sister’s family because everything is more fun with cousins, right? I thought I’d share because if you’re looking for a cute holiday activity to do with your little kids, Edaville USA is it. I even remember going to Edaville Railroad as a kid!

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Edaville-railroad-4For the holidays they have a special Christmas Festival of Lights. The park opens at 2pm and we got there shortly after. There are tons of little rides for all ages both outdoor and in, rides even my average-sized 2 year old could ride on (and a few rides she could even do with no parent!). The rides and grounds are on par with a local carnival, some were working, and some were not… but of course the main attraction is the train ride.

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They do a Christmas Festival of lights train ride that comes with your entry and then they also do the Polar Express, which we’ll do in a few years once our Z actually knows the story. Their website claims the trains run every hour but they ran more frequently and more randomly when we were there, so listen for announcements and ask the staff. We thought we were getting the last train of the day but it turns out there was one after ours when it would have been a little darker and you could see the lights better. Oh well, the kids didn’t even realize.

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Inside, you could visit with Santa (and get a photo with him for a cost) as well as a great play space and little historical museum talking about the cranberry bogs of Carver, MA and how Edaville came to be.

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It was a fun afternoon/evening! If you go, bundle up! Our Z refused to wear her hat and mittens at first and cried because of the colllld temps. We were constantly running inside to warm up and were pleased that the little indoor play area had rides and other fun activities. There’s not much for food in the area either so we checked online before we left the house and found a good local restaurant close enough to stop at on our way home before anyone fell asleep in the car. What a fun holiday adventure!

Couple Things…

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We went to a Lux theater to see Catching Fire – nothing better than a lux movie theater, right?

We have entered a phase of booboo obsession. And she requires band-aids for said booboos so a new rule was created this week, no band-aid unless mommy sees an actual booboo.

We continued our Christmas spirit and made a Christmas-looking risotto for dinner one night!

We also watched Psycho for the first time (our Netflix cue is hurting right now) and it was surprisingly good!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Gift Guide – Stocking Stuffer for the Gal you Love

Ok, the last installment of my stocking stuffers gift guide is for the ladies!

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1. Nothing cuter than ban.do hair accessories, I wear this sparkle & shine bobby pin set all the time.

2. Fancy hot chocolate from Williams-Sonoma – this salted caramel hot chocolate sounds awesome!

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3. A little something personalized with her initials like this necklace

4. …and something personalized with yours like this ring.

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5. A pair of the most comfy undies she’ll ever own – hanky panky.

6. A pair of cozy socks like these snuggle crew socks from Life is Good.

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7. A stylish bejewel hat from H&M (I have a similar one!).

8. A new winter nail polish, I can’t wait to try Zoya’s Cassedy.

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9. Downton Abbey English tea so she can prepare for January 5th!

10. A fun, new iPhone case.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little stocking stuffers gift guides (for men, for kids), I sure had fun making them! And share this one with my hubby, please!

Christmas Finally Arrived at our House!

The weekend after Thanksgiving we were too busy (and I got sick, boo!) to get our tree and officially start our Christmas season. SO! This weekend we went full force into holiday mode and I thought I’d share some of it with you…

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We kicked off our Christmas-y weekend by seeing our fave mall Santa on Friday night. My Z is very scared of Santa still (just wait until she knows what his deal is) and 0ur photo last year was of her screaming. We were strategic this year and planned to go with my sister and her kids so Z could ease into it…and we got a smile for 1.2 seconds! The elf photographers are good and they managed to capture that quick smile, thanks elves!

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Saturday we went and got our Christmas tree at a local Garden Store that had a balloon artist, Santa, hot chocolate and a petting zoo – it was great! Although my Z took one look at Santa, turned to me while pointing to him, looked me in the eye and said “NOoooo!” See, we were really lucky Friday night to get that smile…

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We quickly found our tree – look at it, perfect! Although seeing my Z’s face it looks like she didn’t agree that this tree was the one.

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After we got the tree, we saw that our town was having a tree lighting so we did the only thing you can do when you learn such a thing….stopped at Starbucks for hot chocolate and watched the lights turn on!

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The next day was spent decorating the tree and listening to Christmas tunes on Pandora and this little lady hasn’t really moved from this spot since.

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We also made a little gingerbread house – we got this kit from Trader Joe’s because I love that it’s a little ski chalet-looking gingerbread house, right? And it was only $8. *Note, I added some of my own candy as the front walk and bushes in the front.

Merry Christmas season – it’s my fave!!

Gift Guide – Stocking Stuffers for Your Little Munchkin

What’s more fun to do than help Santa pick out a bunch of fun stocking stuffers for your little munchkin? Nothing! Here are a few ideas I had this year…

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1. For your little girl Piggy Paint non-toxic nail polish in a fun color like this Sea-Quin Turquoise.

2. Fun dress-up glasses from the Land of Nod, I got the green ones for my Z!

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3. Colorful small cubebot from Crewcuts.

4. Tattly temporary tattoos, what kid doesn’t love temporary tattoos? Tattly makes really cool ones like this party watch.

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5. Candy. Any. kind. of candy. Like this Lindt chocolate Santa.

6. Start your little one on the classics early with these adorable Board Book Literary Classics like Moby Dick (we have these for our Z).

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7. Personalized Christmas tree ornament to put their annual photo with Santa in, I like this one from Pottery Barn Kids.

8. Snow paints! What better way to spend a snow day?

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9. Crayons! I love these on-trend neon crayons.

10. Cozy socks, like these from H&M.

One more stocking stuffer gift guide later this week – stay tuned!

Couple Things…

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My Z and I watched Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer – it was the first time for both of us, and I have to be honest – I was slightly unimpressed…

We went to a wedding over the weekend at the Colonnade Hotel with fabulous food – just look at this cheese appetizer (at least we think it was cheese)!

New statement necklace that seems to go with everything.

We’re building a house this weekend!

We visited Bambam (my mom) at her office this week and my Z immediately started making important business calls…

Thanksgiving mani still going strong…

Have a great weekend everyone!